In one study, schizophrenics, bipolar manics, and mentally normal individuals were administered a digit recall task. The total performance of schizophrenics looked much like that of a normal processor under a higher load level. The manics' performance was intermediate. Primary performance was particularly poor among the mentally ill subjects. In a second study, three groups in the same populations as in the first study were asked to shadow and recall verbatim eight descriptive text passages. Distraction effects were found for schizophrenics only in the areas of percentage of words correctly shadowed and recall variables; the two areas were not correlated, however. It appears that, for schizophrenics, distraction disrupts the ability to effectively shadow information to a greater extent than it disrupts the ability to encode information for recall. The two studies imply that capacity-carrying abnormalities that affect the quantity but not the quality of information processing can be useful in pointing to information processing of normal humans under high load conditions.